Let’s Talk Gray, I Mean Grey, and NPR Too

Let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat. The color gray, with an a, is the American spelling. Grey, with an e, is the British spelling. A person’s name may be either, of course. I have known for years that it’s a losing battle to fight for the gray. There’s simply too much confusion over it, and who really cares anyway, except for editing-diehards (we really are impossible to kill). The huge ballyhoo around the erotic Shades of Grey trilogy (Book One: Fifty Shades of Grey) may be the tipping point for gray v. grey, despite the fact that the Grey in the title is a person’s name.

I swear I was one of the last to know about the latest in erotic fiction. A friend of mine had to alert me to the trilogy. She had posted something on Facebook about “50,” and I asked what she was talking about. She was flabbergasted at my ignorance, given the attention I pay to anything booky. I thanked her for the info and ordered up a copy. I’ve only just begun, being about 2% in (yes, I chose Kindle for this one).

On another front (stay with me–there will be a connection) I’ve participated in National Public Radio’s Three-Minute Fiction (often abbreviated 3MF) contests. Each time, NPR identifies a judge who will provide the groundrule for the particular round (the current, round 8 judge is Luis Alberto Urrea, and he provided the groundrule that each short story would begin with this sentence: “She closed the book, placed it on the table, and finally, decided to walk through the door.”) As part of the fun around the timing of the contest, NPR has a Facebook page for interested parties (read Excited participants) to chat about the process and whip themselves into a frenzy as a few stories are released each week leading up to the naming of the winner.

If you’re familiar with NPR, you think of them as pretty darn highbrow and in the nicest of ways. Well, at least I do. Interactions on the 3MF Facebook page are very respectful even as the commenters let their enthusiastic name-the-winner impatience shine through. Still, we’re all happy to have a place to occupy us while we wait. Yesterday the Facebook moderator posted this question: “Wondering what’s on your nightstand right now, 3MF’ers. I’m currently reading ‘I’m Proud of You’ by Tim Madigan…and you?” She got lots of answers, with an incredible lack of much duplication.

I read about thirty of the responses and then chimed in: “I could name The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, though that’s actually on my ‘daystand.’ On my nightstand right now is Kindle, and its currently set to 50 Shades of Grey, Book 1. There, I admit it.” The 3MF Facebook moderator responded to very few individual comments, but about ten more comments by other writers and an hour later, she did post again, with: “Meredith Ann Rutter, The only book I’ve downloaded on my iPhone was 50 Shades of Grey.”

I howled, and couldn’t wait to tell you.

Chair Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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